Best Life Insurance Companies Ranked for 2019
We’ve spent hundreds of hours analyzing financial ratings, consumer complaints, pricing, product offering, and financial statements all to answer one question: Which company offers the best life insurance? We’ve ranked the best life insurance companies to help shoppers like you make the best choice for this important decision.
We hope this report saves you hours of time that you would otherwise spend researching life insurance companies. We want you to sleep better at night knowing you made a sound choice for life insurance.
How We Ranked the Companies
- We compared financial ratings from the top rating institutions to only present the best companies in terms of value.
- We analyzed over 100,000 life insurance quotes to determine who offers the best value.
- We reviewed complaint data from state insurance departments to find the easiest to work with in terms of customer service.
- We reviewed annual filings to confirm financial strength to ensure longevity of the company you buy a policy from.
Top 10 Life Insurance Companies Overall
Based on our research consisting of over 100+ hours, 50+ companies, 100+ surveyed consumers, and 30+ data points, here is our top 10 list for the best life insurance companies in the United States. These rankings are based on financial strength, customer reviews, pricing, product offering, customer service, and customer experience. Here is the complete list:
- Haven Life
- Banner Life
- Mutual of Omaha
- Lincoln Financial
- New York Life
- Ladder Life
Mass Mutual, who owns Haven Life, is one of the most reputable life insurance providers in business today. They have been around for 160 years, and are one of the envied few that hold a "Superior" financial rating from AM Best(1). This rating is only for companies with the strongest finances.
Mass Mutual introduced Haven Life in 2013 to meet the needs of modern consumers. Haven Life insurance leverages modern technology to bring consumers competitive pricing. Their technology combined with Mass Mutual's financial strength create a superior buying experience.
There is no need to invite an agent into your home. Haven Life allows customers to buy life insurance online. If you are in good health you are even able to skip the medical exam.
Operating since 1919, AIG life insurance is one of the largest life insurance companies today. Located in New York City, AIG is available in as many as 80 countries. The company offers a wide arrange of products from term to final expense. AIG has over $70 billion in assets(2) and is rated as A (Excellent) from AM Best(3). Like the other companies on this list, AIG's financial strength and competitive pricing earn them the second spot on our list.
Established in 1875, Prudential is another one of the top-rated insurers in the US. They have over $1.4 trillion of assets under management and $4 trillion of active life insurance in force(4). Prudential is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol PRU. They offer not only life insurance but also offer critical illness, accident, and disability insurance. Prudential was named one of the most ethical companies of 2019 by Ethisphere Institute(5).
Prudential operates in many financial markets in the US and continues to maintain a high financial standing. They are one of the largest life insurance companies with nearly 50,000 employees in 40 countries. These numbers all contribute to Prudential being one of the best choices for life insurance.
Mutual of Omaha is a fortune 500 company based in Omaha, Nebraska. They began selling insurance in 1909, making them over 100 years old. Mutual of Omaha offers a wide array of life insurance products. They offer term, whole, universal, and long term care products. They even produced a popular television show in 1963 called Wild Kingdom.
Rest assured, Mutual of Omaha is financially stable and offers some of the most competitive pricing available. Mutual of Omaha has over $8 billion of assets with a $3 billion surplus(7). They hold hold ratings from AM Best (A+ Superior), Moody's (A1 Good), and S&P (AA- Very Strong)(8).
Founded in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1919, Transamerica specializes in insurance and investing. Known for their wide array of life insurance and retirement products, Transamerica is a household name. Transamerica was acquired by Aegon Group in 1999. Aegon is a leading provider of life insurance, pensions, and asset management. Aegon has over 25,000 employees and 29 million customers worldwide(9).
Transamerica Life Insurance Companby holds an A "Excellent" rating from A.M. Best, which is a very strong rating. However, it was recently downgraded from A+ (Superior)(10). Transamerica has over $130 billion in assets and a surplus of $7.8 billion(11).Transamerica is financially sound and receives minimal complaints. Their product offering allows consumers to find a competitive rate on a policy that meets their needs.
Founded in 1868, Metlife is one of the oldest and largest insurance companies in the world. They offer individual life insurance through their subsidiary Brighthouse Financial. Metlife is known for their group life policies and workplace benefits. Ratings below are for Brighthouse Financial. Brighthouse financial boasts over $164 billion of assets and a $6.6 billion surplus.(12)
Lincoln Financial was founded in 1905 and is based in Fort Wayne, IN. They offer a great selection of products including variable universal life, and they are known for having somewhat lenient underwriting. Lincoln Financial has superb financial ratings. In our recent pricing study, Lincoln was one of the lowest priced companies. Lincoln hold high financial ratings from the top agencies and has a stable outlook for the future(13). They have over $239 billion in assets and over $8 billion in surplus.(14)
New York Life was established in 1845 and is currently the third largest insurance provider in the country. It's strong ratings and products make New York Life a top life insurance company. They are a mutual life insurance company, paying over $10 billion in dividends out in 2017. They have a very large surplus of $24 billion(15), which is much larger than most life insurance companies. In addition to this, New York Life has over $1 trillion of individual life insurance in force, and over $572 billion of assets under management.(16)
Ladder Life was founded in 2017 and is backed by Fidelity Security Life, who has been in business for 50 years. They offer term life insurance with an easy to use online application that makes buying a breeze. The main thing that makes Ladder Life special is that they allow policy holders to adjust their coverage without incurring a fee.
Ratings below are for Fidelity Security Life. Fidelity Security Life (Kansas City, MO) was upgraded from A- to A (Excellent) in June of 2019.(17) Ladder's backer, FSL, manages more than $1 billion in assets and collects just over $1 billion total premium annually. Their surplus exceeds $250 million.
How much does life insurance cost?
The price of life insurance varies greatly from person to person. A 20-year term policy with a $100,000 death benefit will cost a 30-year-old male in good health around $12 per month. The same policy will cost a 60-year-old male around $65 per month. The rate calculator tool below allows you to quickly compare custom quotes with accurate pricing.
Best Life Insurance For Specific Needs
- Best Term Life - Haven Life
- Best Whole Life - Northwestern Mutual
- Best Universal Life - LG America
- Best for Seniors - AIG
- Best Burial Insurance - Mutual of Omaha
- Best for Young People - Haven Life
- Best for Active People - Health IQ
- Best No Exam Life Insurance - Sagicor
- Best Life Insurance for Smokers - Prudential
- Best Children's Life Insurance
- Best Life Insurance Companies that Pay Out
Best Term Life Insurance - Haven Life
Haven earns the top spot for best term life insurance company. As we mentioned above, they are wholly owned by Mass Mutual. Mass Mutual has exceptional financial strength. Financial strength, price, and the ability to purchase online make it our #1 company for term life insurance. They offer up to $3 million of life insurance coverage for those under 60. Those age 60-64 are eligible to apply for up to $1 million in coverage; subject to underwriting approval.
Term insurance provides coverage for a set period of time. The most common terms for a life insurance policy are 10, 15, 20, and 30. Learn more about term life insurance.
Best Whole Life Insurance - Northwestern Mutual
Established In: 1857
A.M. Best: A++
Standard & Poor’s: AA+
In our research of companies offering whole life insurance, one company stood out. Northwestern Mutual is known for its industry leading financial strength. They offer a wide range of products, but they tend to lean more towards whole life insurance. Furthermore, they are not known to be the cheapest offer. See our best whole life insurance companies for more. Learn more about whole life insurance, which may be a good choice if you require the tax free cash value component and permanent coverage of a whole or universal life insurance policy.
Best Universal Life Insurance - LG America
LG America has been in business for over 70 years and has outstanding financial security. They have over 1.3 million US customers and have over $734 billion of coverage in force. With over $5 billion of assets and a 96% investment grade portfolio, this is a company that you can trust to insure you for your whole life. LG America prides themselves on being financially strong, fiscally responsible, and having great customer service.
LG America’s Life Step UL is a universal life insurance product that offers lifetime guaranteed coverage as well as guaranteed cash values. The product has premium flexibility which means you can lower your premium for a reduced coverage duration, for example to age 100. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee which means you pay a level premium to keep the coverage for your entire lifetime. This product is flexible in terms of premium payments which makes it our top choice for universal life insurance.
Best Life Insurance for Seniors - AIG
AIG is a global insurance company doing business in over 80 countries. Getting their start in 1919, they have been in business for 100 years. AIG has over $492 billion of assets and employs over 50,000 people worldwide, making them one of the largest life insurance companies.
AIG has a wide selection of life insurance products to meet the financial needs of seniors. If you are between the ages of 50 and 60, consider a term life policy from AIG. They offer competitive rates and give you the option to convert the term policy to a permanent policy at a later date.
If you are over the age of 60 AIG offers a universal life insurance product that may allow you to adjust the death benefit as your needs change. This policy also has the added benefit of interest earning cash value. For those over 70 years of age, they offer guaranteed issue whole life insurance with coverage amounts up to $25,000. AIG offers many types of life insurance to fit your age and financial needs, making it our top pick for the best life insurance company for seniors.
Best Burial Insurance - Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha is a household name in life insurance. They hold top financial ratings and have been in business for over 100 years. Mutual of Omaha is rated A+ (Superior) with AM Best, A1 GOOD with Moody’s, and AA- with Standard & Poor.
Mutual of Omaha offers a guaranteed issue whole life policy that is a great choice for burial insurance. It is available for those aged 45-85. The coverage amounts range from $2,000 to $25,000, and the policy has a level premium that does not increase. Furthermore, the death benefit does not decrease over time. Like most burial policies, it has a two-year waiting period where if the insured dies of natural causes 20% of the premiums are returned, and no death benefit is paid.
Mutual of Omaha is our top pick for burial insurance due to their financial strength, available age range, 20% premium return inside of waiting period, and wide range coverage amount.
Best Life Insurance for Young People - Haven Life
Haven Life is wholly owned by MassMutual, one of the biggest and best rated insurance companies in existence. Rated as our best life insurance company overall, Haven has superb financial strength, competitive rates, and an easy online application.
Haven’s term life insurance product is perfect for younger people who are in great health and demand a seamless online experience. Younger people will find Haven’s rates to be very competitive, and you can often bypass the exam if you are in great health. Term life insurance is the most popular type of life insurance for younger shoppers, as it is very affordable compared to whole life. Haven Life is our top pick for best life insurance company for young people.
Best Life Insurance for Active People - Health IQ
While not an actual life insurance company, Health IQ is doing something unique as a life insurance brokerage. They allow people who exercise frequently to qualify for cheaper rates than they would normally.
If you are a cyclist, runner, crossfitter, triathlete, or any other type of athlete you can save money when you go to buy life insurance. See our complete review on Health IQ to learn more on why they are the best choice for active people looking for life insurance.
Best No Exam Life Insurance - Sagicor
Sagicor has been a life insurance company since 1954 and holds an A- rating from AM Best. Sagicor has over $7 billion in assets and is known for their competitively priced, simplified issue life insurance products.
Sagicor’s Sage Term policy is our top pick for those looking to avoid a medical exam when applying for life insurance. It is available for those ages 18-65 and has coverage amounts up to $1,000,000, depending on your age. It is priced competitively with a 20-year term, $500,000-policy, quoting $26.87 per month for a 30-year old male and $22.49 for a 30-year old female. If you would like to avoid an exam, Sagicor is our top pick. See our report on the best no exam life insurance products.
Best Life Insurance for Smokers - Prudential
Prudential is a global life insurance company doing business in more than 40 countries and boasting $1.497 trillion of assets under management. They have approximately $4 trillion in life insurance in force worldwide. They are one of the largest insurance companies with around 50,000 employees and sales associates.
Prudential is often one of the most competitively priced companies for smokers, tobacco chewers, and cigar smokers. If this is you, consider getting a quote with Prudential to check the price. Being one of the most fiscally sound insurance companies and having lower smoking rates, Prudential is our top choice for life insurance for smokers.
Best Life Insurance for Children - Gerber
Gerber Life Insurance Company has been providing life insurance since 1967 with an emphasis on young families. Gerber is rated A (Excellent) with AM Best as of January of 2019. Gerber is a member of Western & Southern Financial group which has over $50 billion of life insurance in force.
Gerber offers their Grow Up Plan which is a whole life policy for children age 14 days to 14 years old. The plan accumulates cash value as long as premiums are paid, and the coverage doubles at age 18.
Another popular option for children is to get insured via a child rider on a term life plan. This is a great option if you have no interest in buying a whole life policy for your child. The cost is marginal in comparison to your term life plan.
Best Life Insurance Companies That Pay Out
One of the biggest worries in buying life insurance is if the company will pay out after you are gone. The best way to ensure this happens is to choose a company with minimal complaints about denying claims. It’s important to answer the questions on the life insurance application truthfully so there can be no reason for claim denial. Always keep your contact information and policy payment method up to date to avoid any issues. All of the top insurance companies listed on this page are likely to pay claims due to their strong financial ratings. As a shopper, you need to do your homework to find the best life insurance companies that pay out.
Our Criteria for Rankings
- Traditional vs Mutual Life Insurance Companies
- Life Insurance Companies to Avoid
- List of Life Insurance Companies
Financial Ratings Explained
Financial strength is the most important factor we considered when ranking life insurance companies. It is the very factor that determines the validity of your contract with an insurance company. Think of it this way—life insurance is meant to be a financial safety net for your family. The net, however, is only as strong as the insurance company’s ability to honor its claims.
The Importance of Financial Stability
Insurance companies increase their profits by investing a portion of the money they receive from the policyholders in the market.
The market, by its very nature, is unpredictable and could go up or down depending on various factors. When it does go down, a company could suffer losses, albeit only in the short term.
During such times, unless the company is financially stable and has sufficient statutory reserves, it might struggle to continue its operations, settle claims, and pay for surrendered policies. This is why the financial rating of a company matters a lot.
Similarly, if there is a catastrophic event or there is a sudden drop in the market, people might panic and want to surrender their policies or withdraw money from their policies. Such a sudden spike in surrender and withdrawal requests can only be handled by companies that have significant financial resources at their disposal.
Financial Rating by Independent Agencies
These agencies analyze a company’s financial data. Data like:
- The amount collected in premiums
- The amount paid out in claims
- Statutory reserves and assets
- Cash flow
- Return on investments
- Potential risks in the short-term and the long-term
If a life insurance company is rated highly by these agencies on a consistent basis, it is a very good sign of its ability to honor its commitments. If a company receives subpar ratings from these agencies, you should be wary of choosing it.
Best Life Insurance Companies by Financial Rating
Life Insurance Companies With the Most Assets
When ranking the best companies, we look for insurance companies that offer a wide range of policies. Everyone’s financial situation is different and having a selection of life insurance products is the best way to find the right solution. Here are some recommendations on the different products offered by life insurance companies.
Convertible PoliciesLook for a company that allows you to convert a term policy into a permanent one. A term life insurance plan generally lasts anywhere from 10 to 30 years.
If you are in your 50’s or 60’s when it expires, you might need to get yourself insured again. Qualifying for a new policy at that age can be difficult. You might be charged higher life insurance rates compared to younger applicants.
With the conversion option, you can convert your existing term policy into a permanent one. No need to qualify for a new policy or undergo any medical tests. Even if you think that you might not need it, it’s a good option to have.
Riders and Additional Benefits
Look for a company that offers optional riders and benefits. A standard term policy is the cheapest option you could go for, but it may not cover all your needs.
What happens if you develop a terminal illness or a disability? This could prevent you from working and also cause significant medical expenses.
In such a scenario, a pure term policy is of little use. Your family can receive the payout only after your passing. In the meantime, you have to dig into your savings to pay for your treatment costs. This can leave your family vulnerable in the short term. An accelerated death benefit rider can be extremely beneficial to your family in such cases.
The accelerated death benefit rider gives you the option of receiving a portion of your death benefit while you are still alive. You can use the money to pay for your treatment without having to deplete your savings or borrow money.
Similarly, there are other riders available for different scenarios:
- accidental death
- critical illness
- waiver of premium
Choosing one or more of these riders will increase your premium payments. However, paying a few dollars more is worth the extra protection these riders provide.
Life Insurance Company Complaints and Customer Reviews
You should check the company’s complaints in regard to settling its claims. Does it have a long record of serving its customers well? Has it settled all or most of its claims without any issues? These are the questions you need to ask to find out if the company is the right choice for you.
Does the company have a history of policy cancellations and claim disputes? Think twice before choosing a company that does, even if its rates happen to be affordable.
There is no point in choosing a low-cost policy if the company has a history of resisting claims.
Remember! Your loved ones have to file a claim with the insurance company after your death to receive the payout. The last thing they need is for the company to make them jump through hoops to receive the payout. So, choosing a company known best for its positive track record is crucial.
You can check a company’s track record with the BBB and the NAIC. Also, check with your state’s insurance department for any complaints.
Life Insurance Company Underwriting Policies
When comparing companies, we consider each company’s underwriting guidelines. Some companies have strict guidelines. For example, you are likely to qualify for the cheapest rates only if you are young and in excellent health.
If you have any health risk factors, you are likely to qualify for the more expensive rates. Risk factors include:
- If you are overweight
- If you have a family history of heart disease, cancer and other health conditions
- If you have a high-risk occupation or are a participant in extreme sports or hobbies
- If you smoke
Other companies can be more lenient with their underwriting guidelines.
Even if you do not qualify for the cheap rates with one company, you might be able to do so with another company. By doing so, you might be able to save hundreds of dollars in life insurance premiums every year.
This is why it is important to get quotes from multiple companies while buying life insurance. Not all companies have the same guidelines or medical test requirements. So, choose one where you are most likely to qualify for the best possible rates.
Life Insurance Company Prices
Pricing is often the most important factor when shopping for life insurance. Because of this, we analyzed pricing for all of the companies we consider in our ranking. All 10 companies in our top 10 rankings have competitive pricing.
What life insurance company has the best rates?
The answer to this depends on your overall health, coverage amount, and term length. It is difficult to say who has the best rates when the factors and conditions vary so much. One company might have better rates for older customers, where another may be the best choice for someone with asthma. Thus, the company with the cheapest rates for you depends on your unique situation and policy needs. Your best bet is to shop multiple companies and compare rates.
What does life insurance cost monthly?
For a term life insurance policy from one of the best companies, you can expect to pay between $20 per month and $75 per month. This will depend on your age, coverage amount, term length, and overall health. See more on the average cost of life insurance.
Here is a chart displaying the average cost of life insurance as you get older. This was done in our life insurance pricing study which analyzed over 100,000 life insurance quotes.
Traditional Insurance Companies vs. Mutual Insurance Companies
If you are looking to buy a permanent life policy, it is advisable to buy it from a mutual insurance company, rather than a traditional insurance company.
The difference between a traditional life insurance company and a mutual life insurance company is that the former is owned by stockholders whereas the latter is owned by the policyholders themselves.
This is why mutual insurance companies tend to distribute their surplus revenue evenly among their policyholders in the form of dividends.
If your insurance provider pays dividends every year, it could be an additional source of income for you throughout the term of the policy. This is above and beyond what you receive in terms of the cash component and the death benefit.
While this certainly should not be a make-or-break factor in deciding which company you should do business with, it can be an additional criterion based on which you can compare different insurance companies.
Companies to Avoid
The majority of insurance providers in the US are financially stable and committed to serving their customers. However, there are some companies that are notorious for denying and delaying claims and are rated poorly by customers and rating agencies alike.
Based on their track record, it is not advisable for you to trust them with your hard-earned money. Let us take a look at them now.
It was founded in 1968 and is based in Pennsylvania.
A.M. Best: A–
Standard & Poor’s: BBB+
Why You Should Avoid It: Receives a large number of complaints from customers regularly and is known for delaying claims.
It was founded in 1966 and is based in Iowa.
A.M. Best: B++
Standard & Poor’s: BBB+
Why You Should Avoid It: Has a subpar financial rating and offers policies that might only meet the needs of a small, niche group of customers.
It was founded in 1879 and is based in Illinois.
A.M. Best: A–
Standard & Poor’s: BBB+
Why You Should Avoid It: Not as financially stable as other, highly rated life insurance carriers.
It was founded in 1882 and is based in Maryland.
A.M. Best: B++
Why You Should Avoid It: Subpar financial rating despite being in business for more than a century.
It was founded in 1931 and is based in Illinois.
A.M. Best: A+
Standard & Poor’s: A+
Why You Should Avoid It: While it is financially stable, the company is known to delay and claims at times. The premiums are also higher than average and the underwriting policies are strict, which means you are less likely to qualify for preferred rates if you have any preexisting condition or risk factor.
List of Companies
Here is a list of the life insurance companies we considered in this report.
- Mass Mutual Corporate Governance Information - Available from: https://www.massmutual.com/about-us/corporate-governance
- AIG Investor Relations - Available from: https://www.aig.com/investor-relations
- AIG 2018 Combined Annual Statement - Available from: https://www.aig.com/content/dam/aig/america-canada/us/documents/investor-relations/2019/aig-2018-combined-annual-statement.pdf
- Prudential Financial - We Are The Rock (PDF) - Available from: http://news.prudential.com/press_file.cfm?content_id=122671
- The 2019 World's Most Ethical Companies Honoree List - Available from: https://www.worldsmostethicalcompanies.com/honorees/
- Legal and General America Corporate Financials - Available from: https://www.lgamerica.com/corporate/financials
- Mutual of Omaha 2018 Statutory Statement - Available from: https://cdn.mutualofomaha.com/documents/mutualofomaha/pdf/mutual-sap-2018-report.pdf?_ga=2.213679636.1434180325.1570727591-1219668787.1569243993
- Mutual of Omaha Financial Strength - Available from: https://www.mutualofomaha.com/our-story/company-profile/financial-strength
- An Introduction to Aegon (PDF) - Available from: https://www.aegon.com/contentassets/b97b7cff02d24b978461ab65fda7131d/aegon-corporate-presentation.pdf
- AM Best Downgrades Credit Ratings of Aegon's US Subsidiaries - Sept 12, 2019 - Available from: https://www.transamerica.com/media/am-best-aegon-usa-press-release-09-12-2019_tcm145-115859.pdf
- Transamerica 2019 Company Strength Brochure - Availalbe from: https://mss-p-002-delivery.stylelabs.cloud/api/public/content/af8ef914ce964ed49a81c624c323a5a5?v=c4e94438
- Brighthouse Financial 2018 Statutory Statement - Available from: https://investor.brighthousefinancial.com/static-files/635b0606-220d-4b04-8cdf-db3e0280a0a5
- Lincoln Financial Group Ratings - Available from: https://www.lfg.com/public/aboutus/investorrelations/financialinformation/ratings
- Lincoln National Life Insurance Company 2018 Statutory Statement - Available from: https://www.lfg.com/wcs-static/pdf/2018LNLIC.pdf
- New York Life - Our Story - Available from: https://www.newyorklife.com/who-we-are/our-story
- New York Life 2018 Report to Policy Owners(PDF) - Available from: https://www.newyorklife.com/assets/docs/pdfs/financial-info/2018/report-to-policy-owners.pdf
- FSL Earns It's A - Available from: https://www.fslins.com/About-Us/Rating-Announcement